Snug, comfy, homey, cozy, warm…these are synonyms from the Thesaurus that characterise my kitchen this past month. What a contrast to this time last year! A year ago, the place resembled a bomb site – as described in my post at that time, Kitchen Archaeology. All that work done under the floor to insulate our old Victorian kitchen.
Not only has the ambience warmed as a result of those structural improvements, but I’ve found myself seeking recipes for warming comfort foods as the weather turns cooler and wetter, and dusk creeps ever earlier on the hands of the clock – particularly as the clocks have moved back into daylight savings time. Lots of sustaining soups and hearty homemade pastas have been made this past month – such as Spinach, Lemon and Lentil soup (from the Lebanese and Syrian cookbook, Saha by Greg and Lucy Malouf, under review by The Cookbook Guru), my grandmother’s Pepper Pot soup (recipe coming soon which combines both the soup and pasta theme), and Garfagnana-style maccheroni with a meaty ragù.
And then, there is my autumn go-to book, French Farmhouse Cookbook with recipes for hazelnut and honey spread, a Breton onion “marmalade” called lipig (great on flatbreads or as a basis for French Onion soup), and also duck confit and rillette. For the latter, I used a hybrid from the recipe in French Farmhouse Cookbook and from Celia’s detailed instructions in her earlier post, A Weekend of Confit. It’s a brilliant post that demystifies the seemingly complex art of making confit.
New in my kitchen are two bowls. I’m a sucker for nesting mixing bowls and have lost count of how many sets I actually have. These are from the British potters Mason and Cash, a series called “In the Forest”. One depicts hedgehogs (in moss green) and the other owls (in mushroom mocha). There are two more larger bowls which I have my eye on – rabbits and foxes. All of them in soft forest colours. Perhaps in my kitchen next month?
One or another of my mixing bowls might come in handy for my annual apple butter making. (Let’s face it, mixing bowls are always handy.) My recipe for spicy apple butter is contained in one of my earliest posts. It prompts childhood memories and is a comforting reminder that some things never change. Apples are the mellow fruits of the season that John Keats immortalised in his 1820 poem To Autumn, but quinces, pears, and plums would also fit happily into the category.
With the bulk of my quince harvest, I followed Sandra’s (@ Please Pass the Recipe) instructions to make Ruby Red Quince – lovely oven poached quince slices. Some of those quince were used to make a Quince Küchen. The cake that went down so well that there were repeated bakings in fairly quick succession.
The last of the quince has been frozen in its poaching liquid ready for more cakes, or perhaps a quince and cinnamon ice cream – a flavour idea that I’ve been toying with in anticipation of the delivery of my new professional ice cream machine for my birthday. (But…I’m not really supposed to know about it…yet!) What could be more comforting than ice cream? Sure, it’s heading towards winter, but ice cream is a cure-all for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), isn’t it? 😉